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 Elmer Sprunger  (1919 - 2007)

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Lived/Active: Montana      Known for: wildlife, landscape, commercial art

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Ad Code: 3
Elmer Sprunger
from Auction House Records.
High Country Elk
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Elmer Sprunger grew up on the west side of the Rockies around Bigfork, Flathead and Swan Lake.   His sophomore year of high school was in Butte, where his art teacher was Elizabeth Lochrie.  Her lessons took hold.

Sprunger married Marie in 1940, and they moved to Seattle where his art training helped him to draw the patterns for Liberty Ships onto huge steel plates and to learn drafting.  He worked in the woods cutting vitally needed timber and then joined the Army.  After a year in California and another in Hawaii, he returned to the Olympic Peninsula where he worked in logging, construction, and road-building.  

In 1950 he came back to his boyhood haunts near Swan Lake.  Besides carpentry, he did sign painting and made posters.  His goal was never art so much as hunting and fishing.  The three went together in his thinking.  He and Marie have built their own comfortable house.

Two of his major principles are fitting the animals to the land, so that none show up in a painting where they would never be in life, and making each animal a unique individual.  He does use a camera, but only to record details for reference later.


Submitted by Mary Scriver

SOURCE:  New Interpretations by Dale Burk.  Copyright 1969.  Stoneydale Press, Stevensville, MT  59870

Biography from Flathead Gallery:

Elmer Sprunger was born in Kalispell in 1919, and his boyhood was spent upon the shores of Swan Lake where he returned to in the 1950s with his wife Marie.  A student of Elizabeth Lochrie during his high school years he applied her lessons to developing his own style depicting animals as individuals in their natural surroundings.  A true outdoorsman, Elmer fished, hunted, and created art in the world he cherished, the thick Swan Cedar Groves, the sharp Mission Peaks and always spoke with an honest voice and palette.  A spokesman for the outdoors, his cartoons appeared weekly in the Bigfork Eagle often spoofing changes in his beloved valley and always championing preservation of natural beauty over development . One can be assured that the animal painted were ones he viewed first hand like his family pet squire or the ducks swimming on the Swan River. 

Elmer worked as commercial artist during World War II, a sign painter at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant and a full time Wildlife Painter after 1972.  He passed away in Kalispell in August of 2007


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